It was just an ordinary Rolling Stones concert -- if you believe there is any such thing.
Security at the Capital Centre was not noticeably increased last night, despite Tuesday evening's shooting in the woods outside the arena, which resulted in the death of 21-year-old Richard L. Wright. Prince George's County police kept a watchful eye on the steady stream of Stones fans from atop horses and inside patrol cars.
"The crowd is fine tonight, the same as it was the past two nights," said one police officer, who added that he had been advised by superiors not to talk to reporters.
"The biggest thing helping us right now is that the Stones don't take the stage until so late," said Officer Earl Ercoline. "At your usual concert you'd have a lot of rowdy people crowding in real early." Last night the arena wasn't half full when the opening act came on.
And on this, the last night of the Rolling Stones' three-day Washington visit, it was a buyer's market for tickets.
"I'm just waiting out here until the prices drop," chattered a chilled Doug Giancoli, 17, of Gaithersburg. "Twenty dollars is my max -- if I don't get tickets, I'll just sneak in like I did last night."
Others tried group buying. "We have $180 between us. They shouldn't go any higher than that," said Ethan Kloss, accompanied by three friends in the brightly lit parking lot. The four agreed they wouldn't stray far from the Capital Centre. "You always think it won't happen to you, but you can't be so sure any more," said Werner Jurinka.
At the door, the lines moved briskly and recorded messages boomed warnings of prohibited behavior above the excited crowd. A good-looking bouncer frisked one young man at the door. The young man shoved his girlfriend forward, joking, "Hey! She wants to get frisked, too."
"My brother was here last night," said Barbara Hodge, 21, of Fairfax. "We were very worried until he came home."
"I didn't see anyone going near the woods to See SCENE, B15, Col. 1 SCENE, From B14 night," said her friend Marty Meehan. Both were wearing bright red Santa Claus hats.
"My mom drove us to the concert tonight," said Ariel Sabbon, 14. "These guys got busted right next to our car for bootlegging shirts, and she wouldn't let us get out of the car."
Matthew Weiss, 13, said, "We were listening to all this stuff on the radio about how violence follows the Stones, and my mother opened the door and said, 'Get out before I change my mind.' "
At 10:15 sharp the first piano chords sounded, everyone scurried back to their seats in the sold-out house, the lights blacked out, lighters flicked on, the Stones' stage revolved, and for the last time this time in Washington Mick and company put the crowd under their thumb once again.
Jagger leaped out in a pink broad-shouldered suit and yellow tank top, with Keith Richards gaunt in white shirt, jeans and long scarf.
The lighting system hovered over the stage like the mothership from "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," and the Stones made no mention of Tuesday night's shooting incident.